Joan Laporta: 'Sporting, financial and institutional recovery at FC Barcelona is being achieved because we have remained more united than ever in the face of those who wish to hurt us'

Joan Laporta: 'Sporting, financial and institutional recovery at FC Barcelona is being achieved because we have remained more united than ever in the face of those who wish to hurt us'

At the half way point of his mandate, the president is happy to have led the Club to financial, sporting an institutional recovery

The Ordinary General Assembly of FC Barcelona members took place remotely on Saturday 21 October 2023 and it started with a report from the president. Joan Laporta took a look at the Club's current situation, placing special emphasis on the financial and institutional recovery and on the healthy outlook on the field now that his mandate has reached the half way point. The president was particularly pleased to have turned around the poor state of the Club that he inherited when he returned to the presidency in the spring of 2021. 

As such, Laporta underline the importance of the strategic plan as a key element in stabilising the organisation as well as the confidence of the members. Furthermore, the president highlighted that the difficulties that have come up in recent years 'come from people and organisations who attack us for who we are and representing what we represent.' 

Return to sporting excellence 

On the field Joan Laporta pointed out that the Barça men's football first team are returning to show sporting excellence on the field thanks the consolidation of new and young talent, mainly emerging from la Masia, in a more financially sustainable squad with a higher market value than that which the Board of Directors inherited in 2021. The president was proud of the work that has been done to bring happiness back to the Barça fans. "In all parts of the club, a lot of work has been done to return happiness to the Barça fans as we have stabilised the Club, which is once again a reference point in the world of sport," said the president, who also recalled the six league titles won by the Club's professional sections, a unique achievement, as well as the Champions League success of the women's football team. 

Laporta went on to highlight the excellent work of Mateu Alemany at the head of the Football Area, in particular the reduction of the first team's wage bill which has dropped from 98% of earnings in 2020/21 to 57% at present. 

Sending a message for the future, the President said: "We have team that can, and want to, make history, that want to start a new era and leave its mark. It's for that reason that we have to keep getting behind them, as we have in recent years, in good times and bad times, before at Spotify Camp Nou and now at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys and in just over a year, at the new Spotify Camp Nou.' 


Economic recovery 

On financial matters, the FC Barcelona president was clear, the Club is doing 'much better'. Joan Laporta explained that in the first three months of the mandate, the 2020/21 season, with the Board of Directors, they saved the Club from financial collapse as it had a debt of 1.35 billion euros and negative assets of 455 million euros. "With those figures, a private company would have entered into bankruptcy. However, we did not flinch and we took brave decisions to avoid tragedy and always with the same premise: that the cost of economic recovery was not borne by you, the members," explained the FC Barcelona president. 

Laporta added that in the season 2021/22, the foundations of the transition to financial, sporting and economic viability were laid; in the 2022/23 season the basis for recovering sporting leadership were implemented activating, with the consent of members, a series of financial operations to make it possible. 

At this point, Joan Laporta emphasised the record figures achieved in the last financial year in the areas of commerce, sponsorship and use of the facilities which have allowed a profit of 304 million euros for the year after tax, a result that exceeds the budget set for last season. "With income from exploitation of 1.259 billion euros, the Club has improved in all areas of business and in each greater figures have been reached than those expected," he explained. 

Elsewhere, Laporta pointed out that the budget for current season does not include any levers or non-ordinary operations and still sees a profit, despite the loss of income from Spotify Camp Nou. Laporta assured that the prediction of profit is thank to the application of the Viability Plan approved by the Board and the efforts made in the commercial areas, containing expense and a significant reduction in the wage bill of the professional teams. "And that is a collective success for FC Barcelona, for the strength of our badge. We will follow the strategic plane set out in 2021 and from which we have not deviated at any time because the Board of Directors and the Management Committee have moved in the same direction, together, always," added Laporta. 


New projects in the digital area 

With the situation now stable, Laporta assured the Assembly that the Club is entering into a new phase that allows it to face up to new projects such as Barça Identity, the Club's arm in the digital environment to allow it to become even closer to the fans, Barça Vision, the platform through which FC Barcelona brings together initiatives linked to Web3, NFTS and the metaverse and which will be a fundamental part of the Club's strategy to build the Espai Barça Digital, as well as Barça Media, planned to generate audiovisual content and digital business that will allowed better ways of working, being more efficient with regards to services for members and fans and improve income. 

Unity in the face of those who 'wish to harm the Club' 

On the subject of Barça as an institution, Laporta made reference to the strategic alliances that have been consolidated and confirm the strength and pulling power that FC Barcelona exudes once again. The Barça brand is once more a reference point and more and more investors and partners wish to be a part of it. The president also touched on the subject of the Espai Barça and its importance in sustaining Barça as a leader in world sport, and at the same time, its role in being one of the foundations of the Club's financial recovery and future viability. President Laporta said of the Espai Barça: "It is the most important institutional project in the Club's history and it is vital to maintain FC Barcelona's leading position in world sport, and at the same time it becomes a pillar in Club's financial recovery and future viability; an instrument that allows us to continue with the model of governance in which the members are the owners." 

The president also dedicated part of his speech to the so-called 'Negreira case', describing it as the most ferocious attack that Barça has suffered in its history. In that sense, he stood firm in his assurances that no accusation can be proved and that he will not allowed the attacks on the Club's reputation to continue. "However much they speculate, search, dig around and smear, they will not find anything because there is nothing and we have do nothing that we have been accused of as an organisation. They cannot prove anything they accuse us of as true. We will win the judicial case and Barça will be acquitted," stated categorically the president. 


President Laporta pointed to the origins of the campaign against the club. "There is a sociological support of Real Madrid in the spheres of power that has always existed and it is taking advantage of the 'Negreira case' to sully the image of the Club. This sociological support of Real Madrid is panicking because it is suffering the effect of the best Barça in history once again, that we are winning again and we are once again admired for how we play and loved for what we do." The president added: "Years go by and they see that Barça is doing better and they see a president that was there with the best Barça in history is the same one and that the coach is a midfielder from that side. This sociological support of Real Madrid makes parallels and for that reason they are behind this matter." 

Finally, Joan Laporta ended his speech by saying: "Sporting, financial and institutional recovery at FC Barcelona is being achieved because we have remained more united than ever in the face of those who wish to hurt us. That is the key to protecting ourselves more and better in the future: be more and more strong. Barça is only for us, the Barça fans. We have to pull together, be more united than ever because we do not have or want powerful states or controlling millionaires behind the Club. Our strength comes from our identity, our history, our ownership model cannot be touched." 


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